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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Delight, Outrage, Mystery

Where to begin? How about with Mystery.

The plant I labeled Tigeralla (aka Mr. Stripey) when I transplanted my tomatoes this spring was late in setting fruit, and slow to ripen it.

Now that it's decided to come to the show, I notice a remarkably solid color on fruit so ripe it's bordering on mushy feeling.

The fruit from the plant labeled Isis Candy is bi-colored, so I wondered if I switched the babies when I transplanted. But these are not striped, more a yellow top and orange/red bottom type scene. And looking it up, Isis Candy is a bi-color and the pictures I find online match what's on my counter.

However, the pictures I find for Tigerella don't look like anything I've grown this year. What I'm getting off that plant looks more like Sungold or something. Except what I've seen on Worley's and Farmers T&J's blogs, if it was a Sungold it should have been an earlier producer.

I'll have to bring some of these to the big KC Tomato Tasting to find out for sure what it is I'm growing here. Growing as many varieties as he does from seed in a relatively small greenhouse, I don't know how Worley keeps anything straight to begin with, so it wouldn't surprise me if a few seeds or seedlings decided to sneak around the corner and trade clothes, see if the teacher notices they're in each other's seats.

Also, regarding the tomato tasting, I came up with my own labeling system, though I may cave and revert to Sharpies on the shoulder. I like the idea of having my little Lobster logotype on there with the variety, but it's a hassle printing and cutting the labels.

The Mystery is thus unresolved. As is the Outrage: Turkey Bacon.

I try not to keep bacon around much, but I've made an exception for BLT season. I try to keep it sane, four strips spread over a couple of sandwiches, enough to season but not overwhelm.

The Turkey Bacon looked like a leaner option. Fewer calories, fewer calories from fat, etc. But wait: the real bacon's label indicated a serving was two pan-fried strips, and there were sixteen slices to a pound. Ergo, a 'serving' is defined as two ounces pre-cooked. 80 calories, 60 calories from fat, 15mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium.

The Turkey Bacon had its serving defined as one slice. And it was a 12 ounce package sliced into 24 pieces, so pre-cooked weight, it's serving is one fourth the size of the real bacon. It doesn't cook down as much, it doesn't have as much fat to begin with, but even if you said two slices was a serving, you're at 70 calories (only ten fewer), 50 from fat (same ten fewer), the same sodium and 20 mg cholesterol (33% more). And if you went by pre-cooked weight and ate four strips as a 'serving' you're higher across the board.

How is this light fare? It's not. I'm not going to throw the stuff away, it tastes good and works for making BLTs, but the 'healthy alternative' is (not for the first time) worse than the vice it's supposed to substitute for.

Both are guilty, of course, of unrealistic labeling. I know Americans are gluttons, me included, but really. One half-ounce slice of turkey bacon and I'm supposed to say, 'Oh, no more for me, I had a serving?' Or two ounces of proper bacon that cooks down to about a half ounce, I know I shouldn't eat it a pound at a go (and I don't anymore), but two slices is a serving? If you eat two slices and think you're done, you don't like bacon. I limited myself to double that and it took effort.

I still say the assholes who make the turkey bacon are the evil of two lessors. The real bacon doesn't come with any cheesey copy about "today's active lifestyle" or pretend to be less decadent than a competing product. The Turkey Bacon people are conning health-conscious consumers instead of saying, 'It is what it is: salty, fatty, probably causes four kinds of cancer if you don't get heart disease, but this stuff tastes so good it's worth it.'

Which is, I think, the gist of the packaging on real bacon; packaging that hasn't been updated since the 1960s and is innocent of focus groups. They use the font Dom Casual to let the consumer know that they haven't entertained any notions newer than Jack Paar hosting The Tonight Show.

Oh, but Delight carried the day. On the left, a BLT made with two generous slices of Carbon; on the right, two slabs of Kellogg's Breakfast seasoned with a couple strips of crisp bacon, mayo on toasted bread with spring mix for the 'L' component.

Poetry on a plate, and as good as the massive spring mix salad laced with bits of Carbon, Kellogg's Breakfast and Paul Robeson with some Lilac Pepper for good measure was, no salad could ever match the flavor orgasm when you bite into a sandwich like this. The salty crunch of the bacon, the toast and greens, the juicy acidity of the tomato, the creamy mayo, I think I'm showing great restraint right now not marching upstairs to cook the rest of the bacon & fake bacon in the house and slice into one of those Tom's Yellow Wonders on the counter, or maybe that Cherokee Purple that felt almost ready...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The mystery could be Dr. Carolyn...that's the only late cherry type I had that resembles what you're describing. It could also be something I didn't have if I got a stray seed from the place I bought them from. Either way...bring some Saturday and we'll try and Sherlock Holmes the heck out of it.

On the bacon situation...quit reading the labels! It's BACON! If you want some really good bacon for the next BLT, stop by Fritz's on State Line and have them slice it THICK...8 slices to the pound. Thank me later!